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papers

Reports and working papers based on the FreshQuest research (please feel free to contact the authors if you have more questions):


Report on Freshquest by Megan Finn, July 2006

The purpose of this report is to describe some of the findings from the data collected in 2006 primarily regarding Berkeley Freshmen and students from Ohlone College and synthesize it with data collected in 2005.


The Non-Binary Nature of Internet Adoption by Megan Finn, May 2006

The "technological careers" of Berkeley Freshmen are used to demonstrate that the binary nature of technology adoption in the classical diffusion model is inadequate to understand or articulate the digital divide. Adoption of the internet takes place within a communication infrastructure, and the use of the internet will take place in a social context. Thus, "adoption" of a technology does not necessarily have the same consequences for everyone. This paper analyzes data collected through surveys, interviews, and focus groups of Berkeley freshmen about their "adoption" of the a computer connected to the internet, as well as email and IM. The students in this study from the lowest income groups (families that make less than $35,000 per year) did not typically have much guidance from parents with regards to technology use. The lowest income students were far more reliant on teachers to show them how to use the internet. Sometimes the lowest income students even acted as proxies for their parents and whatever their parents wanted to do with a computer. Adoption of a technology in the Berkeley freshmen case is a complex issue involving who supports their technology use from an resource provision and instructional perspective. Additionally, with computing technology, it is more challenging to study the adoption of a specific technology because technologies are often bundled together.

Presentation: Technology Adoption Across the Digital Divide by Megan Finn, May 2006


The Techne-Mentor by Megan Finn, May 2005

This paper examines patterns in the adoption of personal communication technology in the lives of Berkeley Freshmen. I argue that these studentsí technology adoption was influenced by techne-mentors, who were usually peers or family members. Techne-mentors are individuals that support technology adoption in certain social contexts, but are learning from other techne-mentors in other social contexts. Thus, the role of the techne-mentor is fluid and context dependant.


Adoption and Negotiation by Megan Finn and David Schlossberg, May 2005

We present the findings from a study about how Berkeley Freshman use technology to support their social networks. The Berkeley freshman class is made up of students from a variety of backgrounds. Their experiences using information and communication technologies vary widely. Once they come to Berkeley, these students maintain existing and create new social networks, all supported by a variety of technologies. They may be exposed to new technologies or new uses of old technologies through their university interactions and environment. Our goal is to understand how Berkeley freshmen, specifically 18-year-olds, from a variety of backgrounds use information and communication technologies to support their social networks including adopting technology, sustaining relationships, negotiating technology in their lives, and educational technology uses.


Relationships by David Schlossberg and Megan Finn, May 2005

We examine how Berkeley freshmen use communication technologies to manage their relationships with other individuals and groups. Different kinds of relationships demand different levels of interaction, and students make many conscious and unconscious decisions when choosing to use these technologies. We use two metaphors to help describe this selection process. First, virtual spaces give the students a sense of presence despite the physical distance between the people they communicate with. Second, a relationship spectrum helps students determine the effort and types of communication technologies they use when communicating.


Education by David Schlossberg, and David Hong, May 2005

This is a paper about determining user needs. We wondered how we could apply our research in a way that could be beneficial to the UC Berkeley community. In the end, we phrased it in a question: "What can our research reveal about the technology uses and needs of U.C. students within the context of their education?" We've narrowed the scope of our project and extracted all the relevant data we could find relating to how students use technologies for school, learning, and other educational purposes. This paper presents those results.


FreshQuest Presentations by David Schlossberg and Megan Finn in May 2005: long short